Lockdown Day 13: You Are My Sunshine / Encierro Día 13: Eres Mi Sol

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

I SHARED MUSIC by Fran (aka Francisco) yesterday. So, today, it seems only fitting to tell you about the music of Frances. She’s a memory from my childhood, an elderly neighbor who had an apartment with her husband, Eddie, on the same floor as ours.

Since the co-op was brand new when we moved in, everyone knew everyone else very well for a number of years. At times, they were even neighborly. We visited with Frances politely when we saw her, but that was about it. She wasn’t easy to take in big doses.

Frances and Eddie were originally from Poland and had escaped during the holocaust. They were both about 5-feet-tall. They both spoke heavily accented English. Frances had a shrill voice and always spoke at high volume. Eddie had a deep and crusty voice. And a hearing aid, which he regularly turned off (without telling Frances).

Frances, in only her bra and girdle (that covered most of her body), would often sneak into the hall to take the trash to the incinerator chute, when she thought no one was around. She would invariably forget her keys and get locked out. She would then frantically ring the bell, bang on the door, and yell, “Eh-DEE! Oh-pum Op!” (“Eddie, open up!”)

My sister Dale’s bedroom window shared an inside corner with Frances and Eddie’s living room window. We couldn’t see in, but if someone stood at the window, we could see each other (so Dale kept the blinds drawn). When Frances was locked out, Dale and I would peak through the blinds to see Eddie standing at the living room window smiling… and pretending not to hear. He usually let her stand out in the hall for five or ten minutes before going to the door and saying, “Frencis, vat ahr you doeeink oht dere?” (“Francis, what are you doing out there?”)

Then there was the time Frances hired a decorator. As Frances described it, she was “mekking dee apahrtment SO fency.” One afternoon, she rang our bell because she was excited for us to see the new “Muriel.” I thought that was the decorators’s name. We all obediently followed as she ran around the corner. Her decorator had covered one dining room wall in a “mural.” Even the Dowager Duchess didn’t bother to correct her. I remember “Muriel” having a lot of flowers, trees, and Victorian people. And horses with carriages. It was all a bit much. Frances was ecstatic.

But that’s not what made me think today about Frances. Yesterday, the sun was shining. Yesterday, the sky was blue. (Today, it’s gray, raining, and windy again.) I went out and dumped the trash — no bra and girdle; and, no, not naked either. I remembered a song we once heard Frances sing (shriek) through the wall during a New Year’s Eve party she hosted. Between verses, she’d wail, “Everybody sing!” Forever after, Dale and I couldn’t hear the song without laughing, and Dale would shriek in Frances’ accent, “Everybody sing!” I wish I had a recording — of Frances AND us.

Everybody sing! (And click the sunshiney images.)


COMPARTÍ MÚSICA DE Fran (también conocido como Francisco) ayer. Entonces, hoy, solo parece apropiado contarte sobre la música de Frances. Es un recuerdo de mi infancia, una vecina anciana que tenía un departamento con su esposo, Eddie, en el mismo piso que el nuestro.

Como la cooperativa era completamente nueva cuando nos mudamos, todos conocieron a todos muy bien durante varios años. A veces, incluso eran amables. Visitamos a Frances cortésmente cuando la vimos, pero eso fue todo. No fue fácil tomar grandes dosis.

Frances y Eddie eran originarios de Polonia y habían escapado durante el holocausto. Ambos tenían unos 5 pies de altura. Ambos hablaban un inglés muy acentuado. Frances tenía una voz aguda y siempre hablaba a gran volumen. Eddie tenía una voz profunda y crujiente. Y un audífono, que apagaba regularmente (sin decirle a Frances).

Frances, solo en su sostén y faja (que cubría la mayor parte de su cuerpo), a menudo se colaba en el pasillo para llevar la basura al conducto del incinerador, cuando creía que no había nadie cerca. Ella invariablemente olvidaría sus llaves y quedaría bloqueada. Luego tocaba el timbre frenéticamente, golpeaba la puerta, y gritaba: “¡Eh-DEE! Abre!”

La ventana de la habitación de mi hermana, Dale, compartía una esquina interior con la ventana de la sala de Frances y Eddie. No podíamos ver adentro, pero si alguien se paraba en la ventana, podríamos vernos (así que Dale mantuvo las persianas cerradas). Cuando Frances estaba encerrada, Dale y yo miramos a través de las persianas para ver a Eddie parado en la ventana de la sala sonriendo … y fingiendo no escuchar. Por lo general, la dejaba estar en el pasillo durante cinco o diez minutos antes de ir a la puerta y decir: “¡Frances, ¿qué estás haciendo ahí afuera?”)

Luego llegó el momento en que Frances contrató a un decorador. Como Frances lo describió, ella estaba “haciendo el apartamento TAN elegante”. Una tarde, llamó al timbre porque estaba emocionada de que viéramos la nueva “Muriel”. Pensé que ese era el nombre de decoradora. Todos la seguimos obedientemente mientras ella daba la vuelta a la esquina. Su decoradora había cubierto una pared del comedor en un “mural”. Incluso La Duquesa Viuda no se molestó en corregirla. Recuerdo que “Muriel” de Frances tenía muchas flores, árboles, y gente victoriana. Y caballos con carruajes. Todo fue un poco demasiado. Frances estaba extasiada.

Pero eso no es lo que me hizo pensar hoy en Frances. Ayer, el sol brillaba. Ayer, el cielo era azul. (Hoy vuelve a estar gris, llueve y hace viento.) Salí y tiré la basura, sin sujetador y faja; pero sí, completamente vestida, y recordé una canción que una vez escuchamos a Frances cantar (chillar) a través de la pared durante una fiesta de Nochevieja que organizó. Entre versos, ella se lamentaba, “¡Todos canten!” Para siempre, Dale y yo no podíamos escuchar la canción sin reír, y Dale gritaba con el acento de Frances: “¡Todos canten!” Desearía tener una grabación de Frances y nosotros.

¡Todos canten! (Y haz clic en las imágenes soleadas).


But, wait, I think I found Frances! Oh, never mind. This singer is way too good.
Pero, espera, ¡creo que encontré a Frances! Oh no importa. Esta cantante es demasiado bueno.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

31 thoughts on “Lockdown Day 13: You Are My Sunshine / Encierro Día 13: Eres Mi Sol”

  1. EVERYBODY SING with the parrot – NOT!

    eddie and frances must have been quite the couple. I imagine they are long past now.

    1. Anne Marie,
      Eddie died in the 1970s. Francis quickly remarried and then kicked her new husband out after a few years because he became ill and as she put it, “I dint merry him so I vould hev to teck care uv him!” She wasn’t the kindest person I ever met! Fortunately the 2nd husband’s daughter helped him.

  2. Eddie and Frances sound like real characters alright! Would have made a great TV series.
    Your music choices today brought back a pile of good memories for me…….grade 2 and 7 years old…..my sister, Jo-Ann, and I waiting to sing songs on a local radio broadcast for kids. Jo-Ann was up first with hers (I forget what she sang)……I was up next with ‘You Are My Sunshine’!!! ……..our ‘payment’ was a whole jar of locally made peanut butter!……which we promptly dug into on way home on the bus.
    I hope I sounded way better than the parrot!! lol
    Thanks for the memories.

    1. Jim,
      Peanut butter! I’d sing for peanut butter. Frances and Eddie could have made for some good sitcom episodes.

  3. Thanks for the image of Frances in the bra and huge girdle that is now permanently burned into my brain, LOL! And oh, that parrot!

    1. Debra,
      I will forever have that image in my brain. There was more support garment than skin!

    1. Wilma,
      I love the noise of the surf, especially now with no competition from motors and traffic… and people. Rain and wind again today. Right now some blue sky finally showing through at 5:15 pm!

    1. Mistress Maddie,
      And the amaryllis in those planters never disappoints. I’ll keep checking back… once I can walk again!

  4. Love the bird. Good to see you are staying entertained. Take care, normal will return.

  5. I find parrots to be quite fascinating. This one sings better than a lot of people I know, including me. This made me happy.

    1. Deedles,
      We had a parrot like that. He/she was phenomenal. Will share stories one of these days.

    1. Parsnip,
      Glad you appreciated that. I thought corner windows would be misleading.

  6. Ha! I love your stories of Frances. It’s great to have such colorful neighbors, isn’t it? (Even Mrs. Kravitz isn’t as colorful as Frances!) That amaryllis is amazing — I’m happy if I can get mine to send up just one flower stalk.

    1. Hey! My comment worked! I think I figured out what I was doing wrong — I have to fill in all my personal details each time rather than relying on the computer to remember them. Hmmmmm…

      1. Steve,
        Also, WordPress starting sending comments to spam again. They might just drive me crazy!

    2. Steve,
      We usually have a planter filled with amaryllis. They finally petered out and we had planned to replace them. Missed our chance. The chiringuito’s amaryllis are stunning every year. I’ll share when more flowers are open.

  7. I didn’t think a parrot could sing a whole song, just repeat short phrases.

    Love the Yiddish accents in that story. All that was missing was an “Oy vey!”

    1. Kirk,
      We had the same kind of parrot. I’ll fish out an audio recording we have. He was phenomenal.

    2. Kirk,
      Also, I couldn’t figure out how to reproduce the Yiddish/Polish accents in Spanish!

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